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Ottawa K1 A 0C5 

P 1 385 

(1980 punt) 





Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada 


Saanichton Research Station, Sidney, British Columbia 


PUBLICATION 1385, available from 

Information Services, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa K1A 0C7 

© Minister of Supply and Services Canada 1 979 
Cat. No. A53-1 385/1 979 ISBN: 0-662-10665 
Revised 1979 Reprinted 1980 10M-6:80 

Growing Fuchsias 

Flowers of striking colors and unique form, a long blooming season, easy 
culture, and ready response to training make the so-called common fuchsia 
one of the most popular and interesting container-grown flowering plants 
for the home gardener. 

When grown indoors at suitable temperature and in proper soil, successful 
flowering depends mainly on light; therefore, fuchsias do best when they 
are in a glass or plastic house or a very well lighted sun-room. 

They can be grown outdoors only when the temperature remains above 
freezing; therefore, in regions with a short growing season, plants for 
growing outside should be well established and they should have plenty 
of buds. 

The scientific name for the common fuchsia is Fuchsia hybrida; F. speciosa 
is a name used formerly and still sometimes used today. Probable ances- 
tors include F. fulgens, F. corymbiflora, and F. magellanica. F. fulgens is 
native to Mexico; the other two are indigenous to Peru. Another species, 
F. magellanica, is quite variable and it has contributed greatly to the 
spectacular fuchsia varieties that are now available. F. magellanica, and 
its hybrids, can be grown permanently outside in mild parts of British 
Columbia. They are good as specimen shrubs and for an informal hedge. 

Growing Site 

Suitable sites for common fuchsias outdoors are the same as those for 
tuberous begonias, for example, lathhouses, lightly shaded patios, heavily 
shaded greenhouses, northern exposures that have full sun only until 
10 a.m., and locations where moderate shade is provided by trees. 
Fuchsias should not be grown in windy places, where temperatures are 
extreme, or in strong sunlight. 

In catalogues and other publications fuchsias are usually listed according 
to their normal habit of growth, that is, upright or trailing plants. How- 
ever, both types can be trained to suit a person's wish. Examples of 
trained fuchsias are shown in Figures 1 to 4. 

The section on insects is by Mr. Tonks. Mr. Crossley and Mr. Arrowsmith wrote the other 
sections of this publication. 


Figure 1. A fully developed 2-year-old tree, or standard, in full bloom. 

Figure 2. Bush fuchsia. 

Figure 3. A hanging basket in full bloom in July. The plants are 
from cuttings rooted in February. 

Figure 4. Column fuchsia. 

Starting Plants 

Fuchsias are grown from cuttings rather than from seeds, because 
cuttings become plants exactly like the parent, whereas plants from 
seeds may be different. 

About the middle of January take from storage overwintered plants 
that are 1 year old or older, cut back the branches in the manner shown 
in Figure 5, and place the plants in a greenhouse or bright room at 
16-18°C, in full light. 

Figure 5. 

A 2-year-old specimen after 

winter storage and spring 


If the plant is starting its third year or if the pot size is less than 20 cm, 
repot the plant in the following way. Loosen the root mass, then remove 
about half of the old soil and replace it with freshly prepared potting 
soil. (See the next section for the way to prepare the soil.) If repotting 
is not needed, water and fertilize the pruned plant in the manner 
described in the section on summer care. 

By late February or early March, new shoots will be long enough for 
cuttings to be made from them. Take cuttings about 8 cm long from 
strong terminal shoots, and choose shoots that have three pairs of leaves. 
The best time to take cuttings, however, is in March or April, before the 
flower buds appear. Plants with flower buds make inferior cuttings, be- 
cause vegetation is not so robust when a plant is about to flower. 
Root the cuttings in a mixture of 3 parts sand, 1 part peat, and 1 part 
perlite or vermiculite. 

Rooting hormones are not needed unless for varieties you know are hard 
or slow to root. For these varieties use preparations at the strengths 
recommended for softwood cuttings. A fungicide dust added to the rooting 
powder in the proportion 1 :1 by volume will increase the effectiveness 
of the hormone. 

Keep the air temperature between 16° and 18°C, and syringe the cut- 
tings often to keep them turgid. They will root in about 3 weeks. 

Potting Soil 

Plant the rooted cuttings in 8 cm pots. For these cuttings, and for 
transplants of all ages, use the following freshly prepared growing 

10 parts pasteurized garden loam 
9 parts nursery grade sphagnum peat moss with up to 
1 part coarse washed sand, depending on the clay content of the 
soil, and 
1.2 kg of blood meal fertilizer to each cubic metre of growing 

This mixture contains enough plant food to sustain satisfactory growth 
until the final transplanting into containers in which the plants will 

Pasteurize the soil by steaming it for 35 minutes at 82° C, before adding 
the fertilizer. Small quantities may be pasteurized by holding moist, 
not wet, soil in a closed pan in an oven. You can buy pasteurized soil 
from garden shops. 

To ensure good drainage, place 1 cm of pea-sized gravel in the bottom 
of each container. 

Training begins with actively growing rooted cuttings that have been 
transplanted into 8 cm pots. 

Figure 6. Pinched (left) and unpinched rooted fuchsia cuttings ready for trans- 
planting in 8 cm pots. The pinched cutting will be developed into a tub, basket, 
bush, or column specimen. The unpinched cutting will be used to form a tree or 



Remove the tip of the stem or shoot, and leave two or three pairs of 
leaves. This procedure is called pinching (see Figure 6); it forces the 
development of side shoots (Figure 7). Just as soon as the side shoots 
develop to the extent that two or three pairs of leaves can be left, pinch 
off each new tip. Pinch each new set of lateral shoots until late April. 
Discontinuing the pinching permits the development of flower buds. 

Figure 7. A fuchsia plant 2 weeks after pinching and planting in an 8 cm pot. Note 
the development of lateral shoots. 


To make a hanging basket (Figure 8), punch three 1 cm holes in the 
bottom of a gallon container such as a tin can. Place the container in 
the basket, and surround it with moss. Fill the container with the soil 
mixture set down in the previous section "Potting Soil." In March, 
transplant three specimens, each similar to the one shown in Figure 7, 
into the container. Continue pinching until April. 


To develop a tree, or standard, begin to train the plant early. Pinch only 
the side shoots as they develop. Leave the topmost one to form the trunk 
(Figure 9). When removing each lateral, leave the leaf attached to the 
trunk to sustain the plant. Continue to remove the side shoots until the 
tree has grown to the desired height. At this stage, allow three pairs of 
laterals to develop to form the head. Develop the head in the same way 


as for training basket and bush types. When the head is well developed, 
remove the leaves along the trunk. 

Figure 8. Starting a hanging basket. 

Figure 9. Training a tree or standard. Left: This plant, in an 8 cm pot, had the 
lower laterals removed at an earlier date and now it requires further removal of 
later-forming side shoots. This process is continued until the approximate desired 
height has been attained. Right: Same plant after removal of laterals. 



An espalier is a plant trained to grow against a vertical structure. To 

make an espalier of a fuchsia, proceed as follows: remove all side shoots 

until the trunk is about 25 cm high, then retain the first pair of laterals. 

Leave the extension of each lateral. Train each extension as a main 

branch by tying it to a separate support. Pinch off the laterals that arise 

along these main branches. Develop the second and subsequent pairs of 

main branches in the same way as the first, leaving the desired spacing 

between paired branches. 


Develop a trunk, but instead of removing the side shoots train them by 

pinching, as described in the sections on a hanging basket and a bush. 

Stop pinching when the plant has grown to the desired height and spread. 

Summer Care 

Keep the soil moist by watering once or twice a day. Too much or too 
little water quickly results in poor plant performance. 
Remove old blossoms so that plant energy is directed toward the pro- 
duction of flowers rather than seeds. Old flowers of varieties like Jack 
Shahan, which drop off naturally, do not need this attention. 
Stake and tie standard, espalier, and tall bush types when it becomes 

Begin liquid feeding when the plants are well established, usually 5 to 6 
weeks after the final transplanting. Apply liquid plant food at about 
2-week intervals. Use high-analysis soluble fertilizers such as 23-21-17 
or 20-20-20 at the rate recommended on the container. Leaf color is a 
good guide to fertilizer requirements. Pale leaves are usually a sign of 
inadequate nutrients, mainly insufficient nitrogen. Pale leaves are also 
caused by excessively wet soil and by too much sun. Nitrogen deficiency 
can be corrected either by increasing the frequency or concentration of 
the liquid fertilizer or, preferably, by applying a solution of 8 g of 
ammonium sulfate in a litre of water. Apply 250-500 mL of the solu- 
tion, depending on the size of the plant. After one application of the 
solution, revert to the original feeding program. To prevent root burn- 
ing, always apply fertilizer solutions to moist soil. 

Winter Care 

In the fall, before frost causes damage, transfer the plants to winter 
quarters such as a cool basement, frost-free garage, greenhouse, or pit. 
During the winter, water them only enough to keep the roots and tops from 
drying out. Pruning may be done before or after storage. If storage space 
is limited, prune before you put the plants away (see Figure 6). 

Bud Drop 

Bud drop may be caused by extremes of soil moisture, dry air, and low 
light intensity. 


Insect Pests 

Few serious insect pests attack fuchsias, but uncontrolled infestations 
may cause severe damage within a short time. Inspect your plants 
frequently. Watch for early signs of pest activity, and treat promptly 
and thoroughly. 

Insecticides suitable for use in home gardens and greenhouses are 
usually formulated as wettable powders or emulsifiable concentrates to 
be added to water and sprayed on the plants. Wettable powders are less 
likely to damage sensitive varieties, but they may leave unsightly residues. 
Some materials are prepared as dusts or granules for treating plants or 
soil, and others are obtainable in small aerosol bombs for use on house- 
plants. Before using any formulation, make sure it is approved for use 
on plants. Use the recommended dosage rates, and follow all safety 
precautions listed on the label. When mixing and applying insecticides, 
wear rubber gloves, particularly if you are dipping plants in insecticide 
solutions. Very few pesticides are completely harmless. 

Because pest control recommendations are subject to change at short notice, 
consult your local agricultural authorities for the most recent approved 
control procedures. 


Aphids are small, soft-bodied, pear-shaped, and usually slow-moving 
insects that suck the juice from leaves and stems. Leaves become curled 
and distorted, and they may drop off. When aphids and many other 
sucking insects are feeding, they excrete sticky, sugary honeydew, which 
covers the plants. A black sooty fungus grows in the honeydew and 
makes the infested plants even more unsightly. The sooty mold remains 
on the plants for a long time after the insect infestation has been 


Mealybugs are small, oval, soft, scalelike insects covered with white, 
powdery, filamentous wax. They suck juice from the plants and excrete 
large quantities of honeydew. 


Cyclamen mites are not very common on fuchsia. They are too small to 
be seen with the unaided eye, but, when infested, plants are stunted, 
flowers are deformed, and rusty patches appear on leaves and stems. 


Two-spotted spider mites, found in their fine webbing on the undersides 
of leaves, look like very small yellowish, green, reddish, or black specks. 
Infested leaves are bronzed or speckled grayish white, and they may 
fall off. 



Scale insects are covered with a protective shell of wax. Armored scales 
have hard shells that are separate from the insect body inside. They lose 
their legs and antennae after a brief crawling stage, and then remain 
in one spot for the rest of their lives. Many of these scales inject an 
injurious toxin into plants as they feed. Soft scales have a waxy or 
thickened covering on their bodies, but it is not separate. These scales 
keep their legs, and they move around very sluggishly. They excrete 
large quantities of honeydew as they feed. 


These small, slender, scarcely visible insects scar foliage with their 
piercing, rasping mouthparts. Infested plants look silvery or bleached, 
and leaves may drop off. 


The adults of the black vine weevil are black or brownish, about 10 mm 
long, and they have a short snout. They feed at night, leaving small 
ragged notches in leaf margins. The small, whitish, curved larvae do the 
most damage by feeding on roots and girdling the crowns. Infested plants 
become severely weakened and they may die. 


Whiteflies are one of the most serious pests of fuchsia. Adult whiteflies 
have two pairs of wings covered with white waxy powder. They look like 
very small white moths, which fly out in clouds when infested bushes 
are disturbed. The immature forms resemble very small pale-yellow oval 
scales clustered on the undersides of leaves. Infested plants become 
spotted with honeydew, and leaves may fall off. 


Varieties of Fuchsias 

The following are a few varieties recommended for free-flowering habit, 
vigor, and ease of culture. Those marked with an asterisk bloom continu- 
ously; others bloom recurrently. 

Angel's Flight 

— pink and white, double, small foliage, good for 

— rose and blue, double, suitable for any purpose 

— lavender blue, white sepals, double, best for 
pots and tubs 

— lavender pink, single, suitable for any purpose 

— magenta red, double, noted for its variegated 

— deep purple and red, double, good for any pur- 

— rose pink, single, good for any purpose 

— rose pink, double, best in baskets 

— pure white, double, one of the best whites, good 
for any purpose 

— blue and pink, double, natural trailing variety, 
for baskets only 

— rose pink and blue, double, small leaves, good 
for any purpose 

— blue and red, double, best in baskets 

— red and white, single, best as bush or standard 

— orange and pink, single, best in baskets 

— pink, double, best in baskets 

— deep violet marbled pink, double, good for all 

Sophisticated Lady — white with pink flush, pink sepals, double, good 

for any purpose 

^Streamliner — red, double, natural trailing variety, for baskets 


# Swingtime — red and white, double, best in this color com- 

bination, good for any purpose 

# Voodoo — dark purple and red, double, suitable for all 

purposes except baskets 

# Dusky Rose 

# Flying Saucer 
Golden Marinka 

# Indian Maid 

# Jack Shahan 
Kathy Louise 
La Neige 


# Lynn Ellen 

*Mama Bleuss 
*Mrs. Victor Reiter 
# Mrs. Rundle 

Pink Galore 



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